The importance of friction, and its reduction by lubrication of the sliding surfaces, has been known since ancient times and yet some of the most fundamental questions in this area remain unresolved. In particular, there is now great interest in understanding the molecular-level mechanisms of friction in order to advance applications in biology and medicine, such as design of artificial joints, and in nanotechnology (micro-electronics, micro-mechanical devices). The classical laws of friction do not necessarily transfer directly to the molecular scale. Motivated by the desire to unpick the molecular basis of friction and lubrication, we carry out simple-minded experiments to reveal the details of molecular behaviour during shearing/sliding.